Every year the industry attends the Kaitz dinner, and every year the same questions about the foundation’s relevance are heard. In little more than 1 year on the job, exec dir Debbie Smith has heard them all…and has an answer to every one of them. For instance, some complain that Kaitz grants feel like double dipping-companies give money to Kaitz for the grants and then Kaitz doles out the grants to the same diversity organizations that the industry is already giving money to. "There’s enough [need] for everyone [to give]," Smith says. In fact, Kaitz goes an extra step, she says, by checking that programs applying for grants aren’t already being sponsored by the industry. While the industry donations to diversity organizations typically go to existing programs focusing on internships or sr mgmt training, Smith says Kaitz grants often are for brand new programs, such as initiatives geared toward middle managers that NAMIC and WICT will launch later this year. There’s room for plenty of diversity organizations-just as there’s room for numerous diversity leaders. Hence, the change in the Sept 14 dinner’s format. Instead of honoring just 1 industry exec, Kaitz will fete 4 (Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt and Cox’s Mae Douglas, James Hatcher and Sherryl Love). "It takes more than 1 individual to make sure diversity is successful in an organization," Smith says. "It’s not just CEOs who do it. There are foot soldiers in the trenches." — Room At the Inn? If you haven’t booked a hotel room for Kaitz, good luck. Once again, the annual fundraising dinner falls the same week as the opening of the UN General Assembly, resulting in a shortage of rooms and a spike in rates. While Kaitz warned folks to make reservations early, those who waited until the group’s Aug 17 deadline for booking at the Hilton NY were informed that the $299/night room rate had nearly tripled. Is there any hope of moving the dinner away from the UN meeting in the future? "We try to do it every year," Smith says. "The UN doesn’t release the date until the last minute. Eventually, we have to book the Hilton so we can get in." The moral of the story? "Book early."

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